How to write a history of sindh?
In order to write history of Sindh scientifically, it needs to be subjected to a multi-disciplinary approach. Following inter-alia are a few suggestions:
1) History cannot be understood without studying environment in Sindh and this would cover geography, geology, climate, the central Indus plain formed by the Indus flanked by two vast deserts to its east or west, the eastern being part of the Great Indian desert, the western hills an extension of Irano-Baluchi desert, to the south semi-desert of Kutch and moist Kathiawar, one time connected with Sindh with Gulf of Indus (Rann of Kutch and Greek of Kutch between Kathiawar and Kutch) and even to the north hills of Baluchistan and Cholistan desert. The climate is one of harshest in the world, with scanty rainfall, high summer heat, low humidity, scorching sun and the Central plains supported only by the Indus, which kept changing its courses throughout history. Man built canals to irrigate the Central Indus plain (40% of the area of Sindh), only to be destroyed, on small scale every decade, but to large extent every century or so, destroyed the mans labour of the whole century causing migration, starvation, diseases and death, but yet he started else where on the new course to produce food. The eastern and western deserts faced severe droughts at least once in every five years and migrated in the central plains. These continuous migrations produced a uniform culture, language and not only tolerance for each other belief, but hospitality to strangers to be returned by any other stranger any where in Sindh when needed. Formation of such society has led to tolerance, patience and mutual respect.
2) Archaeology as scientific tool to understand history.
There ought to be more dependence on archaeology, which is a science, rather than on folk-lore, on questionable history texts, some of which are mere concoctions and other obviously politically motivated, and on literary works of doubtful merit.
Study of archaeology of adjoining states for the periods contemporary to those of Sindh, would be a great help. Remoter the period under study, the archaeological account of more distant places, may have to be consulted. For the recent past, archaeological finds on case to case basis are to be viewed on their own merits. Archaeology, architecture and literature of Imperial capitals have invariably affected the ‘provinces’ or small independent states within Imperial influence.
3) Big powers, empires and their influence on history.
It might to be kept in mind that big powers have always existed and they have invariably swallowed small nations. They have created new sciences and technologies, developed new cultures and religions, supported beliefs or adopted the religion of conquered and helped its propagation through local priesthood, imposed taxes and recovered them usually by forceful beauratic setup, maintained law and order, built religions monuments, constructed forts and palaces and though introducedmany progressive laws and cultural advities, but their rule in general was despotic and in foreign lands they were tyrants. Toynbee’s analysis has but these empress in three groups, the Western Empire covering mostly Europe and occasionally northern Africa, the Central Empire form Caucasus Mountains to Iran and Central Asia touching Gobi Desert and Indian Empire covering India and some times beyond Khyber, Gomal and Bolan. These empires have changed boundaries and if one of them becomes weak, the others include some of their territories in their empires and process went on for the past 2500 years. It seems to make sense as for history of three ancient valley civilisations Egypt, Iraq and Sindh is concerning which were periodically occupied by one or the other Empires and is discussed below:
a) 560 saw rise of Median Empire, which at first swallowed the Babylonian Empire between Europe and South Asia and by 480 BC, this Empire expanded to include Egypt and ‘Indus Valley’ and many other areas. This Empire, hereafter called the Central Empire, has persisted in different names in the same vicinity and almost including nearly the same peripheries.
b) Alexander’s Empire, the successor of Achaemenian Empire covered the same area as the latter, plus Greece and Cyprus, but minus Armenia, and small areas between the Caspian and the Black Seas. To a general observer, the maps of the two Empires would look almost similar.
c) On Alexander’s death, his Empire broke but Hellenistic Empires under his successors continued to rule most of the area of his Empire, with the exception of present Pakistan which formed part of Mauryan Empire in India upto the beginning of second century BC.
d) During his successor’s time also rose the Roman Empire embracing countries bordering northern Mediterranean Sea with the exception of Greece. The Central Empire under Selucids occupied most of the old Achaemenian Empire, with the exception of Egypt and the present Pakistan. Egypt became Ptolemyt’s Kingdom and Greek States were divided among his generals.
e) By the beginning of second century BC, again there were three Empires, the third being the Indian and in between the Western Asian or the Central Empire as mentioned in (c ) above, and in the subsequent centuries they persisted in one or other form. The relative strength or power of those three empire determined on to who was to control the three lands of the rivers i.e., the Indus and its tributaries and the Nile both of which formed theextreme boundaries of Achaemenian Empire and the land of two rivers the Tigris and Euphrates, which was to remain under the control of the Central Empire or who-so-ever held power within its vicinity.
f) The Roman Empire kept expanding and occupying more and more territories in Europe and also gaining some areas in the Central Empire, which encountered partial disintegration due to the switch-over from Hellenistic Greeks to Asian Greeks and Parthians in the second century BC. This continued from 192 BC to 138 AD. The Eastern Empire of Mauryans broke up in 187 BC and was succeeded by Empires of Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthains and Kushans, with some over-laps in the boundaries of the old Empires. Fights between Roman and Parthian Empires were to lead to the down-fall of both, the Roman Empire becoming Byzantine Roman Empire (ruled from ‘Istanbul’) and Parthians being replaced by Sassanians, while Guptas were to assert for Indian Empire. Weakening of the three Empires gave some relief to many National States including Sindh, in the form of local principalities, although both the Sassanians and Guptas made serious attempts to subdue Sindh the former occupied it for some 73 years, between 283-356 AD the formers on Sindh was possible only when the Central power in India was too weak due to virtual breaking up of the Indian Empire.
g) Europe had seen no organised territorial governments before the Roman Empire. Although weak, the Byzantine Empire easily kept Europe under control for many centuries by co-operating with the Christian Chruch, which exploited and kept the masses subdued under joint masters, the Papal power and the Byzantine Emperor. The Byzantine Empire, even thought in its weakest form, continued dragging along until liquidated by rise of the Central Empire under Islam in the 16th century.
h) Islam gave rise to the Islamic Empire, by absorption of the Sassanian Empire between 634 and 651 AD, Ptolamic part of the Empire (Egypt) from the Byzantine Romans and Sindh and Baluchistan form Chach’s independent Dynasty; thus completing the original boundaries of Achamenain Empire of 480 BC. They also conquered Northern Africa and most of Spain, which were part of the Roman Empire in Northern Africa and the Western tip of Europe. But this appeared an unnatural expansion of Central Empire, and soon after 750 AD, the northern African and Spanish territories gained independence from Abbasids, leaving the Central Empire within almost its old boundaries of Achaemenian Empire.
i) The story is incomplete if the development inRoman Empire are not fully understood, as these affected developments in the Central Empire, and Sindh too was ultimately affected.
(i) Under Julian (362 AD) this Empire was still intact. The Sassanian Empire too was almost at the climax of its power then, though Sindh was lost to them around 356 AD.
(ii) By 406 AD. Hun attacks had already weakened the Byzantine Empire and by entering in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, on way to Swiss mountains, the Huns had virtually divided the Roman Empire into the Eastern and Western sections.
(iii) By 420 AD the Huns had already menaced Italy, France and Spain, and the Western Roman Empire was involved in local uprisings. This stopped Roman Empire form usurping the Central Empire which in itself being weak, could not avail of the Hun menace over taking Roman and gain any territory from the Roman Empires or ever gamble for power in Sindh, not yet occupied by the Hun expanding Gupta Empire.
(iv) By 450 AD Huns had in hand a well established Empire extending over the whole of the Central Europe, the Eastern Eurpe and Western Russia. Europe thus was completely paralysed under the Huns.
(v) By 476 AD, the western parts of Byzantine Empire broke away from it and came under small independent principalities.
(vi) The Sassanians also could not take advantage of the weakening position of the Byzantine Empire, as they had to face attacks of nomadic White Huns of the Central Asia, year after year, in which the Pensian King lost his life in 484 AD. The Huns also liquidated Kushans in Afghanistan and Guptas in the South Asia. The situation then helped Rai Dynasty to occupy Sindh independently. A pre-conqueuisite for an independent principality in Sindh has always been a weaker empire to the West in Persia and Transoxania i.e., the Central Empire and also a divided South Asia or a weak Indian Empire. Such occasions have repeated in history and we witness Habaris, Soomras, Sammas, Kalhoras and Talpurs ruling Sindh when both Indian and the Central Asian Empires were weak.
(vii) In 562 AD, Byzantine succeeded in re-occupying Italy, Southern Spain and North Africa under Justinian.
(viii) In 607-615 AD, King Khusru of Persia in an attempt to conquer the Byzantine territories occupied Mesopotamia, Armenia and, in 616 AD, conquered Egypt. He almost had extended his boundaries to those of the Achaemenian empire temporarily occupying Multan but could not establish his suzerainty over Sindh.
(ix) In 626 Herraclius, the Roman Emperor, defeated Khusru the Sassanian King, who was murdered by his nobles and a state of anarchy prevailed in Iran and its dependencies including Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
(x) Thus it became the most opportunate time for Arab armies to reduce without much resistance, the whole of Persian Empire between 634 and 650 AD. Had Islam not risen at a time when it did , probably the Byzantine would here swallowed the Sassanian Empire, and even the Rais of Sindh would have expanded west-wards as they had already annexed al most whole of Baluchistan around the same time. Arabs occupied Syria (636-38 AD), Egypt (640-42 AD), Mesopotamia (639-40) and Tripolitinia (642).
(xi) The aristocratic family of Umayyads had a temporary set back at the murder of Hazard Usman the third Khalif, but finally gained ascendancy in 661 AD. They were to be credited with further conquests by Arab armies to the East and the West of Arabia.
j) Thus, by 737 AD, the Umayyads were able to occupy most of Spain, parts of France and all of the Northern African territories of the old Roman Empire. They forced the Roman Empire to confine itself to Turkey, Greece, southern Yugoslavia and southern Bulgaria. On the eastern front, they annexed Baluchistna, Sindh and Afghanistan.
k) This expansion of Umayyads was no longer natural to boundaries of the original three Empires; the Western, the Central and the Indian, and thus break-up of the new ‘Empire’ started directly. By about 800 AD it came to be directly confined to the limits of the old Achaemennian Empire, and it further break-up and contraction was awaited.
l) By 854 Sindh got away from the ‘Central’ Empire (under Abbasids since 751 AD) when the Central Empire weakened, and by 888 AD. Abbasid Kaliphate was confined mostly to Mesopotamia and some parts of Arabian desert.
m) With powerful Central Empire eliminated, Sindh also remained independent until the 13th century, a period of three hundred and sixty years during which there also arose no power in the South Asia, or the Eastern Empire, to sub-due Sindh.
n) Mangols under Chengiz Khan sacked most of the Central Empire and time and again they kept sacking, and weakening it between 1220 and 1258 AD, instead of consolding their victim under their over-lordship they divided their spoliation into a number of Khanates (Golden Horde, White Horde, Turkestan, Persian, Tamurids of Heart, Temurids of Samarkand, Cheibanid, Black Sheep, White Sheep, Kazan, Astrakhan and etc.) between 1230-1478 AD. Thus they could not exert the holding pressures and failed to create impact reflected traditionally by a unified Central Empire.
o) On the Indian side there were three other important developments, namely:-
i) Asoka’s Empire (250 BC) curiously to see, occupied the same area as that of Allauddin (1315 AD) and Aurangzeb (1707 AD). Only on these three occasions the whole South Asia formed one unified Empire for a short time and the disintegration of this Empire started each time on the death of its founding emperor. On all these three occasions, Sindh formed part of the Indian Empire and yet again Sindh was always the first to regain independence due to what is called centrifugal force, only because it was at the extreme end of the Indian as well as the Central Empires. Riches of its valley could support a large population and the local government, whenever opportunity came.
ii) The Empires of (a) Bindusara (Asoka’s father), (b) Guptas (around 400 AD), (c ) Harasha (640 AD), (d) Altatmish (1236 AD) and (e) Akbar (1605 AD), occupied almost the same area in the South Asia except that Guptas and Harasha had not been able to occupy Sindh. In case of Guptas there probably was fear of having a border with Sassanians, and Herasha had died before advancing on Sindh. In both these two cases, Sindh again had strong rulers of its own the Vahlikas and the Rais, whose suzerainty also extended beyond the boundaries of Sindh and could therefore easily have faced the intruders.
iii) Around 100 AD. Khushans had occupied parts of the Central Empire i.e., the Hinhukush mountain areas of the Central Asia and parts of Indian Empire of Mauryans South Asia including western U.P., western Rajasthan, Gugarat etc.). Aracid’s Parthian Empire as weakened due to constant struggle with the Roman Empire and therefore, he was not in a position to put pressure on the Khushans. Almost identical, barring small adjustments was the situation in 1605 with regards to Ottoman, Safvid and Mughal Empires. If however Akbar had not annexed Sindh in 1591 AD, the Saavids would have occupied it before his death in 1605. These and such like international forces have been at work throughout the centuries in territorial areas with common or over lapping boundaries and Sindh has been no exception to the overwhelming pressures and to the internal urges to get rid of the same and live on a free and independent land.
iv) As a consequence, Sindh has witnessed long periods of independence with weak Empires on its Eastern and Western fronts, and also has accepted subjugation by these two Empires periodically, once they became very strong.
p) Just as the Roman Empire as well as the Indian Empire were to break into small local powers, so was the Central Persian Empire. It has witnessed a number of such episodes - e.g.
i) Selucid Empire which occupied areas from Mesopotamia to the western borders of the present Pakistan, saw Bactrian Greeks break away from it. These Bactrian Greeks occupied the same areas, which were later invaded through not annexed by Muhammad Gaznavi. Had his successors been capable, they could have annexed these areas, which had already weakened by the former’s invasions. The Scythains, Parthians and Kushan too had almost occupied the same areas.
ii) The Central Empire was divided among the Mangols around 1300 AD. They usually did not attack or oppose each other, but they also did not organise any joint expedition in India. Allauddin therefore had respite enough to unify the South Asia, after meeting and crushing initial attacks of Mangols settled across the Indus.
iii) The weakening of Central Asian Empire and its divisions in small Mangol States and Khanate gave rise to establishment of Sultanate in part of Turkey in 1333 AD at the cost of Byzantine Empire, which already was in a state of decay since eight century.
iv) As said earlier, the establishment of any power around the Byzantine centre of influence, often led to expansion of this power. By 1401 AD, the Ottoman Empire included Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, parts of Yagoslavakia and Greece. Byzantine Empire survived only around Constationpole. The Ottoman expansion took place around dates as shown below:
In 1439 AD
In 1456-58 AD
In 1463 AD
In 1475 AD
In 1431 AD
In 1445 AD
In 1466 AD
In 1471 AD
In 1502 AD
v) In 1404 AD at the death of Taimur, his Empire had reached its maximum expansion, and had it not gone under decay after his death, they and not the Safvids would have controlled the Central Empire and North-Western parts of South Asia. But by 1430 AD the Western Taimurid Empire had already been occupied by Emirate of the Black Sheep Turks. Throughout the 15th century the South Asia remained divided into small independent principalities. At the end of the century, the Central Asian Mangols and Turks pressurived each other and some Tairmurid chieftains finally made way for the South Asia. Their conquest of the South Asia was easy, firstly due to determined leadership of Akbar, secondly to the part that small principalities had to fight Akbar individually, thirdly because he managed to get mercenaries form Central Asia instead of recruiting local Muslims, and lastly because he joined hands with Rajput elite under honourable treaties, whereby the latter, on accepting Mughal paramountcy, were left undisturbed in their own territories, subject to military service to be offered by them to the Emperor, whenever asked for, a policy the British were to adopt in late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. Simultaneously the rise of the Mughal Empire in India rose the Safvid Empire in the Central Zone. Safvid power extended to the Western boundaries of Sindh, the two Empires were to clash either in Sindh or South-Western Afghanistan. Akbar conquered Sindh before Safvids could do it and he too had Qandhar occupied. Qandhar changed hands in clashes between the two Empires repeatedly for the next century until both Empires weakened.
vi) The Ottomans on their part too, expanded occupying both Eurphates and Tigris river valleys, the Nile valley and also the Northern African countries once under Romans, Arabs and Byzantine rulers. They also occupied European countries which once formed the Eastern Byzantine Empire.
vii) On death of Nadir Shah in 1747 AD, the Central Empire broke into two, the Eastern and the Western parts. The Eastern part of his Empire went to Ahmed Shah Abdali, whose territories consisted of the same areas as those of Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and Kushans. The division of Nadir’s Empire paved way for slow decay of the Central Empire over the next 50 years, and when the rulers of the area had to play a second fiddle to two major European powers, the British who replaced Mughals in India and the Russians who rose in Central Asia at the cost of both Iran and Ottoman Empire.
viii) Sindh was under pressures both from the Central as well as Eastern powers from 1739 to 1843, when the British finally annexed it.
Thus the study of history of Sindh has become a very complex subject in view of its position between two major powers, the Indian and the Central Asian, from Achaemenian times to this day. The two powers invariably had an eye on Sindh and besides pressurising it, have also influenced it in many ways politically, culturally, economically, linguistically and even in matters of religious beliefs.
Religion and culture.
1) The establishment of Abbasid Empire in 751-56 AD within almost the same boundaries as the Achaemenian Empire in 480 BC, also indicated establishment of Islam on the previous Zoroasterian lands with only small non-overlaps.
2) In India establishment of Buddhism over Mauryan Empre, replacing the old Vedic religion, in mid 3rd century BC to mid third century AD is another curious coincidence. Mauryan Empire collapsed at the beginning of second century BC, but Buddhism continued thriving in the whole South Asia until mid 3rd century AD when challenge re-emerged against it from Hinduism. There seems to be no apparent reason for Buddhism to survive after the fall of Mauryans, except that there were strong Buddhist Empires in the North Western South Asia, namely Bactrian Greks, Parthains, Scythians and Kushans, upto the mid third century AD and these rulers had accepted Buddhism as their official religion. These Empires occupied north western India, Punjab, Sindh, Kutch, Gujarat and occasionally Rajasthan and western U.P, and were the mightiest Empires of the South Asia. They were strong supporters of Buddhism and it was under them that great Classical Buddhist art as well as religious documents were written. It was this impact of art and letters backed by political power, which kept Buddhism alive in the whole South Asia for five centuries after Mauryans.
3) Within the areas not under control of the Empires mentioned above, the Aryan religion which had become dormant was under going some transformation and new Sanskrit Classics were being written since the fall of Mauryans. Four hundred fifty years of this passive movement awaited an aggressive Empire to rise and push Buddhism out. Guptas were such rulers and they changed the destiny of Buddhism. Hinduism started replacing it and by the beginning of seventh century AD. Buddhism was confined to North Western India, the militant Huns also did their worst to Buddhism in the early part of that century. When Arabs conquered Sindh in early eighth century, this was the only area of the South Asia, which was practising Buddhism. The rest of the South Asia had already accepted the revitalised Hinduism. Invitation of Buddhist priests to Arabs and co-operation of the Buddhist Governors with the Arabs, was the final suicidal attempt of the decaying religion.
4) The tenth century witnessed rivalry between the Persian-dominated Abbasid Empire and the Fatmid Khalifate, a purely Arab State. Under Umayyads, Persian had demonstrated preference and support for hereditary Khalif, a descendent of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Persian armies having defeated Umayyads, faced two alternatives; either to install a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and make him religious, spiritual and political head or to install another Arab chief as Khalif, accepting his political authority only, which could be manoeuvred. They preferred the second option and soon they had Abbasid Khalifs who were born out of mothers and invariably had Persian wives. Having been frustrated by Persian moves and thwarted by their power, the Fatmids sponsered the religious cloak of the descendants of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and got support of many Arab states. Transoxanian states, Multan and Sindh owed their allegiance to Fatmids. Mahmud of Gazni, a Persian King under instruction of Abbasid Khalif considering these states as heretic reduced all of them in his 34 expeditions against them in the first quarter of eleventh century. In subsequent centuries the situation reversed. Transoxania turned Sunni, and Persia the homeland of Mahmud of Gazni turned Shiitte.
5) This only proves that, unless a state supported a religion, it could not survive. If a religion became powerful, the rulers must either accept that religion or else impose their own religion on the subjects. This appears to be a simple co-relation between religion and State. Bacterian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and Kushans were such converts, who had accepted the religion of their subjects and had also contributed to its face-lifting in form of classical Buddhist art, re-writing of Buddhist religious texts, with a view to be popular among the followers of that faith, within their own territories and out side.
Civilisation and culture.
Civilisations rose in a number of scattered centuries in form of hunting and food-gathering tribes switching over to domestication of cattle and ultimately to discovery and practice of agriculture. The latter known as Neolithic revolution, had definite beginnings in 7,000-6,000 BC. four major centres had already developed due to such a revolution in Egypt on the Nile, in Summer on the Tigris and Euphrates, on the Indus and its tributaries, and finally in Shang on the Hwang Ho river. Some authorities also include Minoans on the Greek and Crete Islands as the fifth primary centre of such a culture. Based on the above, we have secondary civilisations developing out of these five centres between 1500 to 500 BC. These civilisations are:
1. Syriac in Syria, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon.
2. Hititte and Hellenic in Turkey and Greece.
3. Babylonic in Mesopotamia.
4. Indic or the 16 Mahapajandas of Aryans around 600-500 BC.
5. Sinco in Hwang Ho valley.
Consequent with these arose five teriary civilisations in these very areas, each with a political umbrella of some sort in the form of Empires:
(a) The Orthodox Eastern Christian civilisation of Greece and Turkey.
(b) The Judaic civilisation embracing Egypt, Syria, Jordan and North Western Arabia.
(c) The Iranic civilisation as a consequence of Achaemenian Empire and subsequent empires under Bacterian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, Kushans and Sassanians.
(d) The Indic culture under Mauryans.
(e) The Chinese and the Japanese and Korean culture.
Further transformation in this muulti-cultural phenoment took place in recent historical times as follows:
(i) The areas of Iranian influence (Central Empire) became a Centre of Persian Muslim culture since about 1000 AD, resulting in Delhi Sultanate and a number of Central Asian and Iranian National States.
(ii) The Indic culture became Hindu culture after about 750 AD.
(iii) Egypt and Mesopotamia became Arab-Muslim cultural centres.
(iv) The Roman Empire became orthodox Christian, since about 675 AD and was joined by Russia around 1000 AD.
(v) Curiously enough, the Bactrian Greek, Scythian, Parthian and Kushan influence of the remnants of Hellenistic civilisation manifested itself in the latter part of fifth century and the sixth centuries in the form of Buddhist religion in an almost one third of the North Western section of the South Asia. The same was the area of influence occupied by Mahmud of Gazni as well as early Mughals upto 1572 AD when Arghoons and Tarkhans, another branch of Mangols, subjugated Sindh. These were also the last areas to be occupied by the British, who saw the same inhabited by Muslim majority. It only shows that the same area had seen and overwhelming accepted three major religions; the Indus religion (2000 BC), Buddhism (5th to 6th centuries AD) and Islam (to-date), while the rest of India practised other religions.
(vi) The Roman Empire became centre of the Orthodox church in 732 AD when Arab expansion was halted in France. The Central Empire as of Darius-I (519 BC) plusNorth Africa and Spain accepted Islamic faith by 732 AD, and the Buddhist Indian Empire of Asoka (d. 231 BC) had also turned Hindu by eight century. The former two were of Judic religious group, and the latter was an indigenous religion, evolved out of the Indus Culture religion (3,700-1650 BC) in the 6th century BC, described in the Upanishads.
(vii) This situation had not reversed upto early 11th century i.e., Mahmud of Gazni’s invasions or even on the eve of Ghoris invasion and Mangol eruption in 1186 AD, except in Sindh and Baluchistan, which always were bound to change hands and also the religion, whenever the Central Empire became too strong and Indian Empire broke into small principalities. Buddhism started slowly being replaced by Islam since conquest of these areas by Arab armies in the late seventh and early eight centuries.
(viii) the Mangol eruption was to cause continuous pressures and uneasiness in the South Asia soon after the establishment of the Delhi Empire, and by 1310 AD, the Indic Muslim Empire occupied the same area as Asoka’s Buddhist Empire, leaving the Central Empire of Abbasids (Empire of ) to the infidel Mangols. The local influences were so great that the religions beliefs in the same religion diversified with small variation in the social environs, for example the north Africa, Egypt, Transoxania and Sindh were already of Shitte faith by the beginning of the eleventh century AD, whereas Mesopotamia and areas around it were Sunnis. By the sixteenth century Mesopotamia and Irna, which were Sunnis in the 10th century, became Shiitte. The Ottoman and Mughal Empires became Sunnis, a complete reversal of the tenth century position. Ottomans occupied most of the areas which were Shiittes under influence of Fatmids of northern Africa in the tenth century.
Trade as means of socio-cultural exchange
(i) Working of copper was known at Mehrgarh in the Indus Cultural area around 5,500 BC. In other areas of Asia its knowledge was known in Mesopotamia, Egypt as well as in Northern Tuyrkey, Greece, Crete, Bulgaria, Romania and the Southern Yogoslavia by about 3000 BC. By 2250 BC it had spread to the whole area occupied by the Indus Culture in the South Asia. By this time, contacts between Mesopotamia and the Indus Culture were well established by sea via Bahrein. Timber was an important object of Sindh’s export to Mesopotamia and copper may also have been imported at this stage.
(ii) In the course of the next few centuries knowledge of bronze working reached the Indus Valley, again from Turkey, Mesopotamia or Egypt.
(iii) From 1650 - 1000 BC, contacts of Sindh with the Western civilisations of Hitittes in Turkey, Amorites in Mesopotamia and Klamites in South West Iran could not be established and so the trade, too could not flourish among them, probably due to process of disintegration over taking the Indus civilisation due to severe drought from 2,000-1,000 BC.
(iv) Iron making process which had been developed by Hittities in the thirteenth century BC and was maintained as a secret for long time, reached the borders of the South Asia by about 1000 BC. Mesopotamia i.e., Babylon, Nimrud and Nimeveth were re-established in the form of export of ivory and spices.
(v) Darius-I re-established contacts among the conquesred lands and trade articles included ivory, spices etc., began to be exchanged. Direct contact with Egypt too was established.
(vi) Under Bactrian Greeks, Scythians and Parthians, Sindh’s contact with Roman Empire we revived and trade flourished and trade routed through Barbarican.
(vii) Under Sassanians the Persian Jews were active in carrying out trade by sea with Rome, Antoch, Alexandria, Mesopotamia, Seleucia. Sindh’s port Barbaricon renamed as Debal (Deval) had Jewish traders settlement.
(viii) The down-fall of Sassanian Empire had one important effect on trade of Sindh. The Persian Jews settled at Debal served as intermediaries on a scale larger than before, between Indian traders and the Arab World. They were also instrumental as informers in the final conquest of Sindh by Arabs after fourteen unfruitful invasions. By mid eight century with rise of Abbasid Empire, the Persian Jews of Debal (Barbarican) had better opportunities of trade with the Arab Empire. Articles of trade were gold, spices, slaves, etc. The relations between Indian Kings and the Arab world were strained upto last two decades of eight century and therefore Sindh’s port Debal played an important role in this trade. Sindh’s trade in the Medieval centuries under Sammas and Soomras with Arab world was limited to indigo, rice, textiles, etc., and this got a set-back with establishment of Portuguese factory with or without permission, at Lahri Bander in early sixteenth century.
Significance of holy places of Sindh
In all the arid zones of the world as Sindh, the places of permanent sources of water supply have become important due to this factor alone. Such points also connected the ancient routes of migration as early as 4,000 BC, or even earlier, and in case of Sindh probably immediately after the rise of Mehrgarh around 6,500 BC.
Subsequently when the governments were formed, these settlements became centres of various states functionaries. Around this time, the priests raised symbolic buildings of different religious orders. The early religions which were invariably sponsored jointly by the government and priests decayed in time, but places did not lose the symbolic importance once gained. During this period arose the natural religion of water worship, a religion befitting the environments of the aridzones, where in by some mysterious process, which they did not understand the places were provided with water by nature. Water worshipping may have been the chief religion before the rise of the Indus Culture (3500 BC) and after decay of Sindh’s irrigation system caused by the change in the course of the river Indus around 1650 BC. This religion continued to thrive upto the coming of Aryans around 825 BC, when two religion one f the Aryan gods and the other of the lingering deities of the Indus Culture, started interacting, and in the seventh century BC came up a refined religion of the Aryan people, in the form of Upanishads. The gods like Shiva, goddess Kali Devi and Yoga postures of meditation were the contributions of the Indus Culture religion to the Aryan religion. In the seven and sixth century BC due to severe drought less water in the rivers, more water needed for irrigation, at the cost of pasture lands causing shortage of meat. The priests (Brahmans) elevated cow to the level of a holy animal, to increase number of bullocks for ploughing and banned use of meat of all kinds of animals for every body except them-selves. But these injunctions were not workable in non-irrigated arid zones of low rainfall, where corps could not be raised, and animal husbandry was possible even on scanty shrubs produced by small quantity of rain water.
This drought was world over and great religious reformers came to pacify people. In the same century, Confucius preached in China, Zohaster in Iran, Buddha and Mahavira in India and a little afterwards Tao in China. Solan a great political and social reformer of Greek also belongs to this century.
The founder of Buddhism not being from arid zone, banned meat to every body and pronounced killing of animals a vice. Similar teaching came from Maharahstra’s Mahavira in form of preaching of Jainism around the same time. Buddhism spread where-ever Asoka’s armies (273-232 BC) reached, causing a great set-back to the religion of Brahmans. In his forty years rule, 80,000 stupas were bult all over the South Asia. The Mauryan rule was known not the period of glory of Buddhism as the full impact of its religious doctrines came later under Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and earlier Kushans (187-180 BC, 80 BC - 46 AD, 46-78 AD and 78-145 AD respectively).
In the meantime the Brahmans adopted some doctrines from Buddhism, accepted eating of meat of some animals and transformed their religion into what is now known as Hinduism. This reformation gained much momentum that the Kushan King Vasudeva (145-176 AD), volunteered conversion to Hinduism in 145 AD.
However it was not the later Kushan but the Guptas (270-500 AD) under whom Hinduism started pushing Buddhism out of the South Asia. They were responsible for revival of the old Upanishad religion, into what was hereafter termed as Hindusm, a word coined by about the same time. Around 640 AD, Buddhism was limited to Baluchistan, Sindh, Kutch, Kathiawar and Gujarat. In earlier part of this century the militant Huns who had accepted Hindu faith, wiped Buddhism out of Kashmir, the northern Punjab and NWFP. The Buddhists of Baluchistan and Sindh were not devoted to their faith. They ate meat, indulged into fights, massacres and murder, as Hiewn Tswang was to report in 641 AD, the year at end of which Chach the Brahman, became the ruler of Sindh. Chach maintained religious statuscuo in Sindh.
Majority of Buddhist official were left undisturbed and no conversions to Hinduism were practised. His brother Chandur who succeeded him and ruled for seven years, became Buddhist and appointed many Buddhist priests in the State administration. This may have been done to win over the masses, to the general rule that the rulers either must convert subjects to their own faith or adopt the religion of the ruled. His successors, Dhasia and Dahar, both followed the policy of complete tolerance towards Buddhists and the Arabs under Mohammad Bin Qasim found many forts being ruled by them, Debal and Neurn being two such important forts, which had Buddhist governors.
It is alleged that the Buddhist were responsible for extending invitation to the Arabs and helping them in the conquest of Sindh, by acting as guides, and after the initial success of Arabs in the south-west Sindh, they actively participated in the Arab conquest of Sindh. This statement is mostly true, except that the invitation was extended by the Persian Jews settled in Debal. The move in their part must have been selfishly motivated, hoping that on Sindh’s becoming part of the Arab empire, they would benefit by expanding trade to various areas under Arab rule and inaccessible to them. Surprisingly Persian Jews were settled in all major towns of the Central Asia Iran and Iraq and were allowed to practice their religion as per injunction of Islam and their own trade contacts with Sindh (which drained trade of whole north west India and Tibet through Debal) were disturbed and it must have been in the larger interacts of Jewsih community to help Arabs in conquests of Sindh. The earlier Arab expeditions on Sindh specially the naval ones, may have been guided by Jatts settled in Bahrain.
The conquest of Sindh by Arabs did not result into large scale conversions to Islam. After dismissal and departure of Muhammad Bin Qasim, Sindh witnessed nine Umayyad governors in thirty years and twenty eight Abbasid governors in hundred and three years. It was a period of unrest, local uprising, civil wars and general chaos, during which not many conversions may have taken place, as the very roots of Islamic administration in Sindh were very shaky. Some conversions may have taken place under Habaris (854-1011 AD), specially of traders, who gained financially, by not paying taxes, but serious attempts to convert were initiated by Ismaili preachers and Fatmid Dawais, who after amalgamating some Hindu teachings in Islam, presented Islam to a common man in their local languages. Such an amalgamated Islamic religion was not antagonistic to the local peoples own faiths and they were sucked in.
These preachers were at work in Multan around the beginning of tenth century and in Sindh in the last quarter of the same century. By the end of twelfth century, Ismailis formed a major religious group in Sindh. Soomras (1011-1351 AD) had became Ismailis in the early eleventh century the latest, and were converted to orthodox Islam probably by Bahauddin Zakariya in the latter half of the twelfth century. In the thirteenth century Buddhism disappeared from Sindh. until then Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in Sindh side by side and coexisted peacefully.
Sufis who came to Sindh in the twelfth century were not bigots and could therefore create an atmosphere of complete tolerance to other faiths. Sammas (1351-1524 AD) were disciples of Makhdoom Jehania of Uch. This saint cheated these disciples, three times, in terms of persuading them to accept paramountcy of Delhi Sultanate, at conditions most unfavourable to them. Many Sufis, off and on, acted as government agents, although there were a few genuine ones too.
At the beginning of fifteenth century, Mahdi of Jaunpur visited Sindh with purpose of uniting the Muslim rulers of a number of independent sovereign states of the whole South Asia, under a centralised Muslim ruler. At that time India was divided into a number of states and Muslims ruled the most of them. He was expelled form Sindh and as he intended to go to Khurasan, probably with the intention of meeting Muslim Mangol ruler of that area to help him carry through his project. His boats were sunk near Sann by Hyder Shah at instructions from Makhdoom Bilawal. His was a Pan-Islamist message, to impose the rule of a Delhi emperor upon a number of small Muslim principalities, and this too was the first attempt by Sindh rulers to expose such a move on ideological grounds. As already stated, powerful empires in India or in Persia and Transxonia, went forward almost always to sub-due Sindh, and this did also happen after failure of this project of Mahdi Jaunpuri. It was a unique move to achieve for him this pan-Islamic objective. Jamaluddin Afghani too was to make a similar attempt in the ninteenth century, followed by Ubedullah Sindhi in the early twentieth century.
On the conquest of Sindh in 1524 AD, Arghoons and Tarkhans ousted out from the urban areas the Sindhi Sufis and scholars, who migrated to Gujarat, Burhanpur and Mecca, and planted in their place their own Sufis, Ulmas and Mullas from Central Asia. The local population on their own either followed old saints or created new ones.
The Kalhoras were such native Sufi-Fakirs who ultimately snatched Sindh from foreign hands and unified it. By them, the immigrant religious and spiritual divines of the Arghoon-Tarkhan period had already been absorbed into Sindhi culture and they too were the ones who in due course contributed to the culture of Sindh. During the Kalhora period the ritualistic religion already stood exposed and spiritual religion taught by Sindh’s Sufis was the only form of religion acceptable to all the communities of Sindh, although some bigotry was also to survive among both Hindus and Muslims. The Sindhis mostly have been fatalists, believing in pre-determined good and evil. They claimed there was nothing within their own power to determine their future no matter what hard work they put-forth. This fatalist attitude to life not reinforced in the mind, due to vagaries of climate prevalent in their land for too long and unreliability of irrigation 6,000 years is discussed in paragraphs below.
A history of the 6000 years of irrigation in Sindh.
In order to understand impact of the Sukkur Barrage built in 1932 the life of the people in Sindh and their of the two later barrages namely, Gudu and Kotri, we have to understand the history of irrigation in Sindh. The Indus Valley Civilisation was not an outcome of direct irrigation, but use of the Indus flood waters, seeping in the soil, and on this preserved moisture winter crops were raised. However on springs of Kohistan irrigation was practised probably before Amrian Times (around 4,000 BC). During Indus water to depressions in summer and draining them in October for planting winter crops, a rudimentary irrigation was practised at the beginning of Arian times (3500 BC). With this kind of rudimentary practise covering more and more area, the civilisation reached its climax between 2300 to 1650 BC and is presently known as Mohenjo Daro or Harrappa Culture in Sindh. Every time the Indus changed its course, irrigation system was destroyed, resulting political upheaval and change of a dynasty.
The Mohenjo Daro culture abruptly declined due to beginning of drought around 2,000 BC, which in next 600-700 years resulted into hyder arid conditions. The civilisation as a consequence declined after 2,000 BC, and Sindh turned almost in to a desert between 2,000-900 BC. Archaeologically this period is called Jhukar and Jhangar culture and lately has been assigned the name of the Declining Indus Culture. Rough estimate of population of Sindh is 250,000 souls form 3000 to 2700 BC i.e., “Mid Kot Dijjian Times”. It must have reached at least 5 to 6 lacks by the time Mohenjo-Daro reached its maturity in about 2200 to 2000 BC.
Every successful dynasty concentrated in upkeep of irrigation system.
Information on Sindh’s history, so far collected, reveals that the famed prosperity of Sindh during times of Indus civilisation, and of Rai, Brahhman, Habari, Soomra and Samma dynasties must have been a consequence of better management of irrigation and agriculture. Likewise, the fall of these dynasties most probably was on account of changes in the course of river Indus. The short-lived prosperous rule of Kalhoras was also an outcome of well managed irrational system and in fact could only be equalled by the British efforts after 50 years of their long struggle with the Indus and its uncertain behaviour. Kalhora dynasty declined immediately after the change of course of the river Indus in 1758, the consequences of which were drastic.
Alexander’s historians witness recent destruction of irrigation system by River Indus.
It appears that between 950 and 519 BC irrational system was again revived in Sindh. The river Indus then was flowing many miles east of its present course and both of its banks were under cultivation. The western limit of its irrigated area was probably the same as the present course of Indus indicates. The area below Sukkur and down to the present Hyderabad on the left bank was known as Brahmanka and its main town was also named as such. In time it changed to Brahmanabad. Between 519 BC and 400 BC Sindh was ruled by Achaemenian Persians. The irrigation system had been so well managed that Sindh (below Multan) paid 36 lac tankas in gold as tax to the Persian Emperor. Just before Alexander the Great’s invasion of Sindh (325 BC) the river Indus had changed its course to the east with the result that his historians saw the country of Oxycanus (Nawabshah and Khairpur districts) in runs. The river had swung too far east in a depression where from water could not reach the irrigated land. There are different estimates as to the population and area under cultivation in Sindh then. The figure according to different estimates varies between 5 to 10 lac people and possibly 4 to 7 lac acres were under irrigated agriculture.
Improvements in irrigation responsible for flourishing trade with Roman Empire 1000 BC - 100 AD.
Mauryans ruled Sindh between 323 and 184 BC. The agriculture and irrigation system suffered heavily under later Mauryans on account of high burden of taxes and drought in which water in the river fluctuated Mauryans were replaced by Bactrian Greeks (184 to 70 BC) and the later were replaced by Scythians (70 BC to 46 AD) and Parthians (46 to 78 AD). Inspite of drought irrigation system may have improved during that period as Sindh was exporting lac-dye, spices, sugar, indigo, cotton linen, wood, rice and sorghum to the Roman Empire through its port of Barbarican (Banbhore). Nothing is known about irrigation during Kushans (78 to 175 AD) and Sassanians (283 to 356 AD) period, but irrigation system seems to be stable and well-managed by Vahlikas (356 to 415 AD).
Changes in the course of the River Indus and decline in irrigation system makes conquest of Sindh easy by Muhammad Bin Qasim.
The stability and improvement in the irrigation system lasted from the times of Vahlikas and under Rais (499 to 641 AD), and Brahmans (641 to 712 AD). The river Indus then seems to have changed its course towards the end of 700 AD, causing a migration of the Kathia tribes of Sindh to a new area south of Kutch, to which they gave their name Kathiawar. The whole irrigated structure of lower Sindh seems to have been destroyed and the area de-populated, as Arab troops under Muhammad Bin Qasim had to march through the area without any opposition the forts either lying unmanned or opening their gates without any resistance. Under Umayyad and Abbasid governors of Sindh (711 to 749 AD and 751 to 854 AD respectively), irrigation system could not be normalised and the destruction caused by change of course of the river around 700 BC was not fully recouped resulting in continuous turmoil, uprisings and lawlessness. It was Habarian (854 to 1011 AD), the local Arab dynasty, who managed to restore irrigation system in Sindh to a valuable state. The population sufficiently increased and trade flourished. The cultivated area under Habarians as worked out from irrigation of various courses of river Indus prevalent during the period may have been 16 lacs and the population too may have approximately reached 25 lacs.
Soomras, Sammas and Kalhoras, the master canal builders.
Under Soomras who ruled form 1011 to 1351 AD, the river Indus seems to have changed its course at least three times, causing destruction of irrigation system and necessitating change of their capital, but they seem each time to have quickly re-established the canal system as the dynasty did not change for 340 years. Soomras were replaced by Soomras and Sammas who ruled from 1351-1525 AD. Some of the canals built by Sammas had survived for more than four hundred years up to the early British times. I have been able to find many canals of early British period going back to Samma times. The area under cultivation under Sammas may have reached 16 to 17 lacs and the population may have reached atleast about 25 lacs. Overthrow of Sammas and their replacement by Arghoons and Tarkhans, gave rise to a civil war between new rulers and the rural cultivator community. Even the Mughal Governors were not able to rectify the situation, thus the population was and reduced to 15 lacs in 175 years record when Kalhoras rose in 1700 AD. The area under cultivation during the period contracted and came down from 22 lacs about 9-10 lacs.
Sindh’s population reduced to 45% by change of course of river and abandoning of millions of acres of irrigated land.
Kalhoras were master canal builders matched in history only by the British. They improved irrigation system and increased the area under cultivation from 9 to 10 lacs acres in 1700 AD and to about 22 lac acres in 1758. The population too rose form about 15 lacs to 30 lacs, but this glory was also short-lived. The river changed its course in 1758 deserting its old bed near Hala and adopted the present course. The old course passed from Hala, Oderolal, Nasarpur, Shaikh Bhirkio, Tando Muhammad Khan, Matli, Talhar and Badin Kadhan and Lowari to Kotri creek in Rann of Kutch. This situation gave rise to rice to disatisfaction among the populance and taking the advantage of instability, Balochi chiefs rose up and with 25 years over threw Kalhoras and established their own dynasty. From 1772-1789 AD there was some sort of civil war for power between Kalhoras and their Balochi chieftain and tribes, who having won replaced the Talpurs at the helm of affairs.
British make improvements to reduce labour on canal maintenance.
Talpurs were not able to repair the total loss in irrigated area caused by change of course of the river Indus. The irrigation system was mismanaged and the rural population busy in clearance of canals was 1.6 person per acre of land, as compared to less than 1 person in 1930. Under Kalhoras it was about 1.35 person per acre.
British contribution to irrigation.
When British took over in 1843 AD by applied engineering skill in designing of canals, reducing the amount of annual silt clearance and thereby reducing the ratio of rural population per acre of land irrigated, which as a consequence increased to 30 lac acres by 1930 and 30 lac acres uder irrigation. This figure they have already reached in 1900 AD, but since then ratio of non agriuclture to to agriuclture increased in terms of people in trade, establishment of small tonws, large cities and people in commence.
They reduced to length of canals per unit of land brought under canal command.
In 1932 AD they opened Sukkur Barrage. From 1945-1947 plans of Kotri and Guddu Barrages were ready, only to be started when the British left making India and Pakistan independent.
Fatalist attitude of Sindhis due to the Indus.
The above brief history shows unreliability of irrigation system over the past 5000 years. There was one thing more, the canals took off from the river Indus for the purpose of irrigation. The level of water in the canals fluctuated with the level of water in the river. This was beyond any body’s control. Canals usually were flowing from mid-June onwards and stopped flowing by mid-October, when level in the river fell below the level of surrounding lands. Some areas were lucky to have water for 120 days although most of the areas in Sindh were getting water only for 90 days. Lower Sindh with the exeption of lands on Fuleli canal, was even more unfortunate, where the water was available for 75 days a year. The only crop that could be grown in the short period was rice. Varieties of it and yields per acre depended upon the number of days water could be available. Even during this short period, there were years when water would come in the canal either too late or recede too early. There would be even fluctuation in canals during the peak of inundation season. Out of every 3 years crop would fail during one year, or it would be much below average. Thus the farmers became fatalist, leaving every thing to luck and chance, as the river was too mighty and beyond their control. The earlier dynasties neither had the means nor the know-how and organisation to overcome the fluctuations in the level of water in the canals.
Ancient and present water deities.
In all arid or desert zones, early religions centres were water deities. These centres remained holy inspite of conversion form one religion to the other. The Sindhi cults were based on male fertilising element the river or water, and female producing element, the vegetation. Thus Shaikh Tahir was called Uderolal by Hindus. The cult of river at Bakhar became Zindha Pir after Khawaja Khizr’s burial there. Pir Patho, the saviour of ferrymen was also venerated by the Hindus. Cult of crocodile turned Manjabari into shrine of Mangho Pir. Even before Qalandar Shahbaz, Sehwan was a centre of water worshipers, Buddhists and Shivite Hindus. The later called him according to Raja Bartari. To Khojas Lal Shahbaz was an Ismaili preacher. Opening of Sukkur Barrage in 1932 gave the in Sindh control over the vagaries of nature and an assured of water was made available to their lands. Until then water flowed in inundation canals only in summer for 50-120 days. There was no water during the rest of the year. Thus Sindh was a true desert in which for miles and miles not even crow would fly in non-inundation period, except near lakes holding water accumulated artificially. Water thus was a supreme needed blessing. It was the creator and sustamer of all life in the area. It was a god and was worshipped as such. When water came in the canals, Muslims went upstream a mile or two and walked along with it, in the bed of canals and channels until it passed their village. The well-come was in form of procession, in which the musicians played on their instruments, Mullas and Hafizs recited the Holy Quran and Hindus threw sweets before its path, while reading their Holy scriptures and moving down-stream with faces towards the advancing stream. On recollecting a few such instances of my child-hood days, when so small that I was carried on shoulder to witness such jubilant crowd; I have concluded that this truly was water-worship and there must have been a for long period before the modern religions evolved, when every one in Sindh had worshipped water. Such periods prevailed before Amrian times around 3,500 BC when people moved close to the Indus and after collapse of irrigation system of Indus culture in 2000 BC, when drought started. Although the Indus culture Priest Kings and Aryans imposed new religions upon people but water worshipping has remained a dominant religion in Sindh upto the very recent times. Even in most parts of non-perennial canals, people look for water for long months. The river Indus was a powerful god, but the other permanent pools of water too were small local gods of Sindhians. These permanent water spots, became connected by permanent land routes, and the permanent settlements around water springs, streams and pools turned into holy towns or villages. So important were they,that one after the other, various religions occupied them in a spirit of competition and even treated the same as political conquest. Attempts were then made to convert entire people of surrounding areas to their faith and erect new symolising main features of their respective faiths. Settlements enlarged into townships and various massive religions structures were raised to the glory of new faiths, introduced from time to time. Visitors from rural areas never missed feelings of helplessness, when they visited these massive religions structures intentionally built for the very purpose.
Investigating routes of migration, trade and conquests, these original water worshipping centres are seen falling on the following routes:
1) Sibi-Ganda via-Wahi Pandhi-Shah Hasan-Bubak-Sehwan.
3) Sehwan-Pokran, Ghaibi Pir-Mango Pir (Manjabari)-Hingloj.
4) Mangho Pir-Landhi.
5) Bodesar-Nagar Parkar-Virawah-Ghori-Islamkot Mithi-Naukot.
There were a number of permanent places on the river Indus and also along the coast from eight to thirteenth centuries. The following are a few:
1) Vinjrot-Mathelo-Alore (Bukhar, Sukkur, Rohri, Zinda Pir and Sadhbelo after 10th century AD), Darbelo, Thul Mir, Rukan-Depart Ghanghro, Brahmanaka (Brahmmanabad-Mansura)-Dhaliya (Baiza) near Mirpurkhas.
2) Mansura-Neurn-Buch jo Takar-Sudheran Daro-Pir Patho-Kotri Allah Rakhia.
3) Thari-Muhammad Tur.
4) Jhimpir-Thatta-Pir Patho.
5) Coastal towns like Pari Nagar were also connected to Sindh towns via Gulf of Kutch and the river Indus.
New places of water worship rose between 14th century to 18th century almost all along the new courses of river Indus. These were Larkana, Shah Godrio, Garhi, Mian Nasir, Kandiaro, Pat, Baghbon, Talti, Rel, Samtiani, Tirith Laki, Hala-Kandi, Jun, Gulri and Samoi.
Further examination of these townships clearly categories them into:- Water worshipping centres, Hindu shrines, Buddhist stupas, Jain temples, Muslim Tombs, commercial towns, capitals of sarkars. These are tabulated in the statement showing process of take-over by one religion from the other. At a few places, the various religions have agreed to co-exist by paying tribute to the same saint by two or more religions groups, each maintaining owns rituals to a certain degree. Below is the list of some of those places which have remained holy for thousands tale
The history of human specials in a story of war, rebellion, conquest, trade for financial gains, colonisation of lands of promise, tyranny, treachery, liberation, struggle and those for building empires. History has continuous repetitions of these tales. For past nine thousand years, man in Sindh, has consistently experimented with this environments to make better living, inventing tools, domesticating of animals, agriculture, building villages and cities, evolving industry, religions and government and endlessly improving each of the above. Achievements of each nation are the records of such experiments. History has been a long progression of changing ways of life and changing population, the one always chasing the other; wars, trade and empires, are the results.
This paper is an analysis of man’s achievements in Sindh in terms of changing ecology Mesolithic life, Neolithic revolution, shift from stone age to metallic age, rise of kingdoms and empires, building of cities to improve living conditions in harsh environments, wars against one incoming wave of people after the other, in occupying fertile lands, superiority of weapons of war, development of communications and international trade, relations between government and governed, evolution of religions to meet needs of society existing is peculiar ecology, growing culture, and writing literature and thought. Life and prosperity of Sindh like all other nations has often hinged on chance; on career of an out-standing figure, code of mortality prevalent from time to time; on a happy instant or other wise in battles, based more on comparative superiority of weapons of war and less on bravery of individual soldier. In history Sindh lost many battles, mainly due to superiority of arm of the invader.
Earliest recorded defeat of Sindhians was at the hands of Alexander the Great. His predecessors the Achaemenians who had also conquered Sindh in 519 BC, had used similar arms for their conquest as those they used, to fight Alexander at Arbela in Turkey in 333 BC. The arms used by Sindhians were similar to the South Asian arms used by Porous, and other kings described by Alexander’s historians. These arms and fighting methods of South Asia were inferior to those of Achaemenians and Greeks. This decided fate of nations involved.
At Arbela the Achaemenians had maintained a wall of men and cavalry from nomadic horsemen, who were iron armour and carried best weapons and formed a square at the centre of which was Darius, with his infantry. There were war chariot to sweep into enemy lines, which the cavalry was to dash in. Total numbers were around 450,000 men against Alexander’s 47,000 or perhaps one tenth.
Alexander’s soldiers were helmets, breasts, breast plates, steel ribbed skirts and gravies to protect lower legs. Each soldier had a solid round shield bossed with metal and they huddled together so that their shields over lapped. Nothing of a man was visible except armour. Each of the line of soldiers formed a grey edge of a slab of steel, massive and dread full. In sixteen lines which formed each division, each man was, placed so that he covered the gap between his fellows, his helmet, breast plate and shield, a portion of communal armour plate. Each man held a spear sixteen to twenty feet long with a brutal iron point for remote killing. This was famous Greek Phalanx, an invention of Alexander’s father Philip. The men were drilled and trained to plug the iron point in to the bellies of approaching opponents.
The fate of Persian army was decided when Darius sent his chariots to break in to the line of Phalanx, but the latter having allowed the chariots to pass through the row gaps created by quick movement stabbed the riders into their backs. With chariots lost, the Greek spears of steel butchered the Persian infantry, from a comparative safe distance. Darius having fled, Alexander marched across Western Asia to South Asia. The success was the out-come of proper use of phalanx, a new technology, superior technique of fighting and the long spear.
The Greeks were not braver than people they thrust down in ground. The opponents were definitely brave, as we understand from the fights that Porous, Oxydraki of Bahawalpur, Mallians of the Central Punjab and Musicanus, Oxycanus, Sambus and others of Sindh put and who fought Greeks from three years form 326-323 AD.
As against Greeks, the South Asian kings used elephants, light bows, arrows and chariots. Their cities had forts which were scaled by Greeks with help of wall scalars, stone throwers, missilies and machines never heard of in South Asia. The soldiers of the South Asia were mercenaries, rather irregulars, un-drilled, poorly clad and unskilled.
The conquests of Sindh by various people at various times were similar to that of Alexander in a way that these invaders came in similar circumstances, and events of history. The great conquests were preceded by decades of strife at home, by sign of turbulent expansionist society, by adventurous commerce or temptation to loot. This strife brought them better skill in living and better technology, which was applied equally in war and peace.
During the well documented historical period we know of such successful aggressions of Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, Kushans, Arabs, Mahmud of Gazni, Chengis Khan, Taimur, Babur, Arghoons and Tarkhans. Each of these empire builders had risen at home after long periods of chaos and anarchy and after establishing themselves well, had marched upon South Asia, Pakistan or Sindh, but with firm determination to defeat, sack, plunder and settle if circumstances at home were unfavourable. Fifteen continuous expeditions of Arab against Sindh were out-come of similar circumstances and fourteen times they lost as they were ill-equipped for the occasions or Sindhians had better arms. The final bid under Muhammad Bin Qasim was difficult to repel as like Alexander before him, he had superior weaponry, which included Syrian solders trained on Roman War machines of latest type, stone throwers (Manjaiques), machines for scaling walls and flame throwers, for harassing elephants. The Arab had easy victory over Sindhains whose kings elephant went out of control, under spray of flame throwers and having been burnt by the flames, plunged into water with Dahar still riding him. His soldiers, considering him dead, fled and having been isolated, his head was easily chopped off and sent to Khalifat Damascus. The weapons of war in South Asia had improved a little between the 6th century BC to 16th AD, a period of about 2000 years and consequently it was easily conquered ruled by all those desert people from South Asia and Iran.
The people of Sindh fought against the successive invaders right upto battles of Miani and Mubba against the British arms, could be described in terms of exactly corresponding to those used above relating to the decisive battles they fought and lost against Arabs at Brahmanabad and Alore. And the people of Sindh are not the lone example of phenomenon in the history. Victory and defeat, defeat and victory remains lot of people, so long the urge to survive and spirit to defy death submits in their breasts - in the dauntless breasts of their sons and daughters, their unborn generations, bound to keep them tryst with the future. In brief Sindh’s history shows stagnancy in technology, though love for freedom.